1. Home
  2. Poems & Poets
  3. Browse Poems
  4. A Brief Attachment by Cate Marvin
A Brief Attachment

Related Poem Content Details

I regard your affections, find your teeth have
left me a bruise necklace. Those lipstick
      marks leech a trail, ear to ear, facsimile your
smile. Your 40 ounces of malt liquor, your
shrink hate, your eyes dialing 911. The hearts
you draw with ballpoint on my cigarette packs
      when I've left the room, penned in your girl's

cursive, look demented, misshapen approximations
of what I refuse to hand over. It's a nice touch,
      though: a little love to accompany the cancer.
      My thought follows you to where you spend
your days lying in bed, smoking and reading
the Beats. The accumulation of clothes and ashes
      circles you, rising like a moat after rainfall.

Often you are a study in detachment—the trigger
eye is your eye, still as a finger poised to press
      should one refuse to cooperate, and I wonder
      how you can hate men so much when you think
like one. Think of what I could be doing outside
if I could unlock the door of myself: think bikini,
      think soda fountain, think tradition, a day lacking

entirely your brand of ambivalence. If you were
a number, I'd subtract you; if you were a sentence,
      I'd rewrite you. Are you the one who left these
      wilted flowers, are you the one whose PIN spells
out H-O-L-E? Why are you wearing my clothes?
If you are weather, then I am a town, closing down
      at word of your coming: you're a glacier on fast

forward, you're direct as a detour, when I say
good-bye you move in next door. You say you
      want to have my baby, you want to buy me a car,
      and you're too young to enter a bar. I should tether
you to a tree in the dark park, allow the moon to stroke
your white neck. I should give you a diamond collar,
      walk you around the block and show you off.

Cate Marvin, "A Brief Attachment" from Fragment of the Head of a Queen. Copyright © 2007 by Cate Marvin. Reprinted by permission of Sarabande Books, Inc., www.sarabandebooks.org.
Source: Fragment of the Head of a Queen (Sarabande Books, 2007)
Discover this poem's context and related poetry, articles, and media.
A Brief Attachment

Related Poem Content Details

  • Cate Marvin was raised in Washington, DC and earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Houston, an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD in English and comparative literature from the University of Cincinnati. Her poetry collections include World’s Tallest Disaster (2001), which won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, Fragment of the Head of a Queen (2007), and Oracle (2015). Marvin coedited, with Michael Dumanis, the anthology Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (2006)
    Marvin uses her work to explore how English language literary traditions butt up against American English in forms traditional and innovative, narrative and lyrical. Issues of gender and violence are of primary concern throughout her three volumes of poems. As such, she is interested in how American identity collides with the English language, focusing heavily on language play and on the intersection of identity, language, and the natural landscape.

    In 2009 Marvin co-founded VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts (with poets Erin...

  • Poem Categorization

    If you disagree with this poem's categorization make a suggestion.

Other Information